Each year World Environment Day is held on 5th June and is one of the principal vehicles the United Nations (UN) uses to stimulate worldwide awareness of the environment and enhance political attention and action.
The day, which was first held in 1972, is celebrated in many ways throughout the world, with activities often including street rallies and parades, as well as concerts, tree planting, and clean-up campaigns. In many countries, the annual event is also used to attract political attention towards improving the environment.
Dominic Slingsby, Operations Director at Slingsby, which supplies more than 35, 000 workplace products across all industries, explains: “Even though World Environment Day falls on a Sunday this year, it’s a great opportunity for workplaces to evaluate their green credentials. There’s nearly always more that workplaces can do when it comes to being green and often people take work habits home so businesses can have a hugely positive impact on the environment that reaches far beyond their front door.
“Looking at where energy efficiencies can be made or introducing new recycling initiatives can all have a positive impact and will also save money in the long-run so there’s nothing for businesses to lose.”
To help businesses decide where to focus their efforts, Slingsby has produced a checklist, outlining some of the main areas where small changes can often reap big rewards:-
Electrical equipment – Introduce systems to ensure all electrical equipment is turned off and not left in standby mode at the end of the day and when it’s not being used for long periods of time. A single laser printer, for example, costs nearly £20 a year to leave on standby.
Appliances – Most new electrical items, from computers to fridges, are designed to be energy efficient. Always consider the energy ratings whenever you are buying new electrical appliances and equipment.
Lighting – This has evolved hugely in recent years and there are now a full range of energy efficient products available for every part of the work environment from LED bulbs through to dimmer systems that adjust depending on the amount of natural light.
Heating – This is often a major expense in commercial buildings so it’s important to regularly look at where costs could be reduced. Turning heating off in parts of buildings where nobody works and making sure windows and doors close properly can make an immediate difference.
Reduce paper usage – Although a completely paperless office would be ideal, for many it’s still an unrealistic goal. However there’s lots that can be done to reduce paper usage such as introducing paperless billing systems. Plus many modern printers can be set to print double-sided sheets, which immediately halves paper usage.
Business travel – Reducing the amount of travel people do saves time and has a positive impact on the environment. The vast improvements that have been made in recent years to broadband speeds and video conferencing systems means face to face meetings can often be held without leaving your desk.
Recycle – As much waste as possible should be recycled across all areas of the business and this will immediately save money on waste disposal costs. For any waste that can’t be recycled, it’s worth looking into whether an alternative can be found. Recycling systems should be installed throughout a workplace to make it as easy as possible for people to participate in.
Buy recycled – A growing number of products are now made using recycled materials, from paper through to flooring products so it’s worth considering this when buying supplies and equipment.